Fears of a shrinking audience for NHL hockey resonate in more places than league and team boardrooms.
Video game manufacturers also have a vested interested in the game prospering.
And in recent years, 2K Sports hasn't liked what it has seen. But in a bid to win back gamers - and gain an edge on rival Electronic Arts - the company has revamped its NHL 2K9 game this year.
Feeling last year's version was simply too complicated, 2K Sports is offering a simpler entry into its hockey title, promising gamers can pick up a controller and play from the get-go with virtually no learning curve. There are deeper playing options with plenty of complexity, but the goal was to make the title simple and fun out of the box.
"NHL for us was kind of a bit of a calculated risk, doing something different this year," said Jeff Thomas, vice-president of sports development for 2K Sports. "What we've been seeing over the last few years is that the hockey video game market has continued to shrink.
Adding to the 2K Sports unease perhaps is the fact that EA had a good year development-wise with its NHL 08, made in Burnaby, B.C., while 2K8 did not fare so well.